board of directors
Lake Preston, SD
De Smet, SD
Sioux Falls, SD
JEAN WILKINSON MEMORIAL BRANDING IRON
The branding iron is an iconic piece of western heritage and a staple of the cattle industry. The iron is used to identify ownership and leaves an indelible mark where it is placed. Jean Wilkinson embodied the deep connection of the branding iron. As a founding member of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation, Jean left a mark on everyone she came in contact with. Her selfless and relentless pursuit to serve others was inspiring and a model for many. Much like the material in which the iron is forged, Jean was a quiet kind of tough. Jean battled several health challenges for as many years as the foundation had been in existence, but always did so with the positivity and grace most of us could only hope to muster. Her faith and dedication to family and community is her legacy.
Jean passed away in the spring of 2021. The mark she left imprinted on our hearts inspired the Cattlemen’s Foundation to memorialize the Branding Iron Award in her honor. It is awarded to someone connected to the beef industry who goes above and beyond in the service of others and who exemplifies the tireless effort of our beloved leader. Her memory will live forever.
The recipients of the Branding Iron Award are:
2018 - Jean Wilkinson
2019 - Ryan Eichler
2020 - Terry Heinle
2021 - Matt Gassen